Street Hoop

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki

Data East


Graphics: 6

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7

With NBA Jam "on fire" in arcades, Data East "takes a shot" at the genre with Street Hoops on the Geo hardware. Far from a "nail in the coffin" to Midway, this is an enjoyable game of hoops but it doesn't quite score "from downtown."

Unlike NBA Jam, Street Hoops is a 3-on-3 basketball fest. You'll pick from a variety of international teams, all with varying abilities. All 3 characters share the attributes (supposedly) of the team. Your goal is to beat the worlds teams in games that are sectioned in 2 halves like NCAA basketball is played.

The game plays almost exactly like the landmark NBA Jam, sans the much needed turbo button. Without any type of speed burst, getting inside or breaking away from your opponents is extremely difficult. Blocking shots is very easy, even with a team low on defense. Regardless, all the skill now resides in passing the ball and looking for an alley-oop. As the game is played, a meter is charged and once full, a major dunk or guaranteed 3-pointer is unleashed. You've got about 30 seconds to get it off, so pressure is certainly on the offense.

Graphically, the game is somewhat unspectacular as the well animated sprites looked outdated even when the game was first released. Guess how they look now? The backgrounds are pretty nice and the simply amazing shots that occur when the power meters are full are nifty. There is some nice parallax on the courts and each player has an individual shadow. It's not spectacular, but it looks great on the hardware.

For a non-CD console, this is a spectacular soundtrack, mixed with early styled rap and countless voice samples. It can grate on your nerves at times, but the quality of it is unbelievable. The menus have great music as well. The sound effects are standard fare, but do their job as an true arcade game should.

As good as it plays, the difficulty is enough to make any gamer insane. Be prepared for last minute impossible comeback almost every game from the computer. Winning is more luck than skill. The problem plagues multi-player games as well, though not in the way they do single-player matches.

If you can get past the minor quirks, you'll find a nice alternative to NBA Jam with an extra player on the court. It's dated for sure, but it provides a nice look back to the late prime of the arcades. Arcade style sports fans will find some excellent gameplay here for a short time, though extended play will reveal some really deep flaws that only a forgiving Geo fan like me will be able to handle.


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Last updated: Saturday, May 22, 2004 08:05 AM